Category Archives: Five Stars

The Unbelievable Truth

The Unbelievable Truth: My Personal Walk With God, by Elder Emerson D. Broadnax, is the encounter of a man that went from being a drug-addicted alcoholic to a member of the Church, thanks to a sudden and lucky encounter. It follows his path as he starts hearing God’s voice, anticipating seeing God in his life events, and guiding him through his faith.

Broadnax writes straightforwardly, not spending much time on each episode but clearly narrating all of them, helping the reader understand the miracle the Lord had realized for him. I appreciated the multiple quotes from the Bible, which gave more depth to the different stories and might inspire readers. The choice of verses underlines the attention to detail as the quotes all refer to the chapter in question or at least to one of the episodes narrated.

The Unbelievable Truth: My Personal Walk With God, by Elder Emerson D. Broadnax, is an inspiring story. It will guide people who might be looking for their own way or who might need a new perspective on life, just like the author did. I recommend this novel to any reader keen on religious and spiritual themes. Lastly, I would like to end this review with a quote from the author: “This book is about how God delivered me out of a twenty-three-year drug habit and how I have been free for twenty-four years.”

Pages: 52 | ASIN : B0BKNS5Z5L

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Going Dry

Going Dry: My Path to Overcoming Habitual Drinking by Sean Robinson is a personal development book that anyone struggling with drinking in their lives will find great use of. Although Sean Robinson primarily detailed his experience staying committed to his new goal to stay away from drinking and resisting the pull of a generational drinking habit, the lessons and challenge protocol gleaned from his struggles can be applied to any area where one experiences difficulty rising above a limitation.

This 12-chapter book leads with a chapter on the legendary new year’s resolution, where everyone promises to lead a better life and improve their undesirable habits. However, this book soon spiraled into the narration of how he navigated his relationship with friends and family, many of whom he had a culture of drinking with and could not come to terms with his new resolve to quit drinking.

One particular thing that Sean Robinson pointed out was that he didn’t necessarily need to have had a traumatic or life-changing experience to know he had to confront his relationship with alcohol. In expressing this vulnerability, he was able to start on his path to going dry.

“The expectation and disappointment in his voice would pierce me and my anxiety about it harder than it should have.”

The peer pressure and the anxiety of having to explain to old friends and acquaintances why you would not want to join in that bottle clink are firmly captured in this sentence excerpt. It was shortly after Mr. Robinson told his friend about his stand on drinking in anticipation of the friend’s wedding.

In perhaps what seems to be the biggest challenge to his new goal, Mr. Robinson offered tips on how to set boundaries with friends who do not understand one’s need to not drink alcohol. However, many would have benefited from his insights if he had delved deeper into how he coped with all that pressure.

Regardless, this book has practical challenges that can help you stay accountable to your goals while navigating the emotions that can sometimes overwhelm you when you suffer a temporary lapse in your journey.

Going Dry: My Path to Overcoming Habitual Drinking is a heartfelt memoir that shares the difficult journey of making changes in one’s life. The honest and direct narrative will help those struggling with addiction to feel they are not alone in their battles. So often, we hear about people hitting rock bottom before making life changes; Sean Robinson shares his story, so others know they don’t have to hit bottom before they can make a positive change in their own lives.

Pages: 122 | ASIN : B0BCQRFK3X

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Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas in Africa

Author and traveler Terry Lister brings back the true meaning of Christmas in Peace, Joy, And Love: Christmas In Africa. In this short page-turner, we go on a journey across Africa and discover the Christmas traditions of African countries. From folklore-based traditions to unique holiday cuisine, there is something to learn on every page. Throughout the book, we are reminded of the true Christmas spirit and how to reshape how we view and celebrate the holiday.

We often forget that Christmas is more than Black Friday shopping sprees, taking pictures at a mall, and opening lavish gifts on a random December morning. If I could sum up the impact of this book in one word, it would be “enlightening.” Lister lays bare the wholesome, unique, and sometimes overly simplistic traditions of many impoverished African communities in an honoring and respectful manner. He does not see these communities as lacking but rather admirable. That gives the reader a more positive perspective on a Holiday that has been taken over by global marketing giants. I appreciated the respect he showed to each African community in his writing.

Lister does a fantastic job at sharing facts in a simplistic but entertaining fashion. It felt easy to retain the information; I often let chapters simmer in my mind before moving on to the next. The photographs were a beautifully added touch. Although many were not high-quality in the traditional sense, they showcased rawness and the natural state of these festivities as if they were happening in real-time. It also added a feel of a travel diary to the overall writing and book that I thoroughly enjoyed – we went on the journey with Lister to discover these traditions.

My reading of Peace, Joy, And Love: Christmas In Africa left me feeling humbled, joyful, and ready to enter the season ahead with a new perspective. If you are looking to switch up your holiday reading from the traditional classic tales, I recommend diving into the Christmas spirit-filled pages of this book.

Pages: 90 | ASIN : B0BGQGC82G

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Marky the Magnificent Fairy

In Marky the Magnificent Fairy by Cynthia Kern Obrien, readers are presented with an array of characters with numerous differences and physical capabilities that are then quickly explained and understood. As society is becoming more aware and educated on the diversity of people in many aspects, it is important to be able to introduce this subject to growing minds, and this vibrant children’s book does just that.

Throughout this charming picture book, readers are taken on a journey exploring the differences between people and get to understand self-love, confidence, acceptance, compassion, and positivity, among other things. All these things are core values that all people should learn about, but author Cynthia Kern OBrien makes it very easy for young readers to understand. All of these characteristics come into play as children grow into adulthood. This book also includes discussion questions that get kids to self-reflect and understand themselves and others better. Teachers will greatly appreciate The Resource Guide, as I thought it was helpful in furthering the discussion on how to handle situations with disabled people.

The beautiful illustrations were incredibly adorable and fit the atmosphere of the book perfectly. They were charming and captured the essence of each unique character. The writing is easy to follow and sends a clear and compassionate message. I would highly recommend Marky the Magnificent Fairy to all children, parents, and teachers. This would be a great book to have in an elementary school classroom to inspire discussion on diversity and self-respect.

Pages: 36 | ISBN: 1589850157

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Squeeze: A Romantic Adventure

Squeeze: A Romantic Adventure by Hiram Davis isn’t your usual romance novel. Following the misadventures of veteran Cooper Landry, it is filled with action, suspense, and a lot of violence.

After leaving the service, he continues to struggle with his past. He seeks change by leaving his hometown and quickly falls in love with Quinn Daltry. What follows is a classic romantic misunderstanding, but with a violent twist. Cooper ends up leaving again, convinced Quinn isn’t interested, not knowing she is in a hospital in a coma. Cooper decides to move on and takes a job in Central America, to which his lifelong friend accompanies him for the trip down. Before they know what’s hit them, the two men have been abducted by a drug cartel and are fighting for their lives. Upon discovering her love is missing, Quinn sets out to find him.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this action-adventure novel had emotional depth as well as thrilling drama. The book takes certain clichés: a damaged hero, a loyal best friend, and a silly misunderstanding, and twists them to offer something unique in this packed genre. Cooper is an immensely likable character whose troubling past is handled well. While it is dark, it never overshadows the lighter moments of the book. All three main characters are a joy to root for because they are well-developed and compelling.

This is a story that is constantly moving, focusing more on the action and suspense rather than the romance. I enjoyed the quick pace because I always felt like we were moving forward, all the while left guessing what would happen next because the path forward is circuitous but so much fun to follow. A true page-turner. The ending, in particular, is very intense as Davis has done a great job of making you care about the characters, and readers will be invested in them by the end.

The author puts a lot of emphasis on domestic abuse early on, both Cooper and Quinn are survivors, which may upset some readers, but it’s not superfluous. The story also deals with addiction, and the violence can be quite grizzly. I can’t recommend Squeeze enough. It takes important and troubling themes and wraps them up in an exciting adventure full of violence and suspense.

Pages: 332 | ASIN : B0BHTQFVNY

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Listen for Water

Listen for Water begins by following a young teen named Dakota Starr who is having a strange dream about a fish and a drumbeat. She then returns to the real world, but the drumbeat follows her. What she managed to forget about for a second in her dream was her poor living conditions. Sharing a government-funded apartment with her deadbeat mother Ray, who she doesn’t even call mother. All her mother does is play video games and schlep around the house, leaving Dakota to fend for herself. All while trying to find enough money to buy food and attending improvisational dance lessons at her local Indigenous dance school. The story takes a drastic turn when Ray wanders into a moving truck. Dakota follows her inside, but they are closed in before she can convince Ray to come out. This begins an epic emotional journey that will change both of them, and their relationship, forever.

This is an impassioned coming-of-age story that explores addiction and family. What I really enjoyed about this poignant novel was the way in which it reversed the mother-daughter role while still showing the force of family and how it permeates our lives. But where other novels may make light of a child caring for a family this novel handles it in a substantive way. Dakota is forced to spend time with a mother that she hates, while her mother loves her like a daughter, even though Ray never provided for her like a mother would. They have an interesting dynamic and their relationship is the highlight of the novel, and one that readers will be thinking about long after they put the book down. Through the story, the two characters get to know each other for the first time, while also making new discoveries about one another and themselves. In a way I think this story is a character study; of two characters. And a dissection of a troubled relationship. I found it all immensely compelling.

This book will resonate with anyone facing similar issues as Dakota as the story is grounded and the emotions feel authentic. The author really plants the reader in Dakota’s head, not just through the first person perspective, but also by using words a girl Dakota’s age would use, even if they’re incorrect or made up. Novels often make their young characters seem older then they are. While Dakota needs to be older, given her situation, she still seems like the child she is supposed to be. This makes her character relatable and readers are able to empathize with her more. The characters and the writing alone make Listen for Water worth the read. I highly recommend it to any book club looking for an emotionally-resonant and evocative coming-of-age tale.

Pages: 341 | ASIN: B09XKP8HQ2

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Sled With Me: I Love You to the North Pole and Beyond

Sled With Me is an enchanting children’s book that takes readers on an imaginative journey to the North Pole. Readers will see a cozy village, visit the workshop where elves are busy making toys, and see Santa and his reindeer all in one fun-filled night.

In this charming kid’s book author Sharon Purtill tells a magical holiday adventure all through rhyme. Each rhyme is short, cute, and perfect for the season. The language is perfect for parents to read to their young children, or for early readers to read on their own.

Every page of this picture book is illustrated from edge to edge with vibrant and sharp illustrations that bring each scene to life. There is so much detail on every page that children will surely spend several minutes on each page picking out all the different things, especially when they get to the North Pole and see the cute polar bears on skates.

This is a wonderfully detailed children’s book that brings together all of your favorite holiday characters. This book is so much more than a Christmas story. It shows children how to use their imagination to take them wherever they want to go. Sled With Me is a delightful children’s book that will inspire your child’s next dream adventure.

Pages: 37 | ASIN: B0BMVYS1LF

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Delaware Before the Railroads

Dave Tabler writes about beautiful Delaware, getting the reader to picture the place, its people, and the changes that have been gradually happening over the years. Where did Delaware get its name? The author writes that everything began with a storm at Cape Henlopen and a Virginia navigator who had lost his way. The author superbly describes the State, making one wish they could visit. The natural resources, landmarks, vegetation, and striking landscape are some of the most stunning features in Delaware. Not forgetting about the beautiful people of Delaware, their welcoming nature, and how cordial they are.

The pictures taken by the author are simply out of this world. The author has a great eye. The images alone make this book worth reading. Every picture of a building, vegetation, people, historical site, and everything Delaware offers is skillfully taken. Every photograph of the reconstruction and historical locations is accompanied by polished notes that give more meaning to the pictures. History enthusiasts will love the arrangement of the book as the author starts with the early days of the Swedish settlers, to the U.S. independence before moving to modern times. The chronological arrangement makes reading easy and better when following the tales and images.

The richness of Delaware is covered in every page of Delaware Before the Railroads: A Diamond among the States. The anecdotes and notes are some of the best elements in Dave Tabler’s writing. How the author humanizes, every tale is remarkable. Dave Tabler’s writing gives the reader a feeling of nostalgia about Delaware, even if they are not from the State. As a reader, you will feel inspired by the moving words and fall in love with the state’s history. Delaware will have a special place in the hearts of all readers thanks to Dave Tabler’s book.

The general feeling after reading this book is contentment. Delaware Before the Railroads: A Diamond among the States is a great coffee table book filled with rich history and refined content. You can never get enough of the spectacular pictures. The captions and full context given by the author are commendable. I recommend this educational book to readers who love history, photography, and the art of preserving memories.

Pages: 100 | ASIN : B0BHKQTX11

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